Isn’t it just cute when you see your younger siblings doing things you wouldn’t have thought of as a child and getting away with it?
Nigerian parents will get older, or become grandparents and then suddenly realise that everything is “not by beating”, that they can actually negotiate terms and conditions.
A few weeks back, my Mum called me to report that my baby sister had refused to take her bath. At another time, it was that she had a test in school, the next day, but she was up watching TV.
Every time this happens, I always check my phone to be sure who is talking to me. Is it this the same woman that raised me? I didn’t know I had a choice in matters like taking a bath or anything at all. She puts water in the bathroom for you, you file in. Why are you even watching TV on a weekday evening? Don’t you have assignments? Oh? Are you done with them? Who will read the other books in your school bag? Did she buy them for decoration?
I was with some friends at the Mall during the Sallah holiday- kids were jumping around the mall, having fun and talking back to their parents.
We began to talk about the beatings we received as kids, mostly for no reason. We traded stories, laughed at the most absurd of them- the one I couldn’t believe was when one of us said her Mum put pepper in her eyes once, someone else was locked in a freezer for about 15 minutes. I have a friend who still dreams about a certain beating her Mum gave her for something she didn’t do and she wakes up crying, she’s 26!
We cannot even remember what we did that made us deserve those extreme beatings.
Well, we laughed and almost choked on our foods as we told our stories, but when we were leaving, it struck me how so many of us are moving around with trauma from our childhood. People born in the 70s, 80s and early 90s are mostly the victims of such.
I wonder if Nigeria would have been better if freedom of expression, thoughts, creativity had not been beaten out of us. I wonder whether, if, our spirits haven’t been repressed with fear, this country would have been better. We did as we were told.
In the University, there were lecturers who insisted on getting back their notes word for word, so that was how we studied- listen, take notes, cram, re-write. No space for innovation, no opportunity for personal thought, no window for hows or whys.
This is why those who dared to step out of the straight line we were raised in were called names or ridiculed.
Even though I think some of the children being raised now are just brats, I am always happy whenever I hear them express themselves. It gives me a little hope. That maybe, just maybe, in the next 50 days we won’t have an 80-year-old President who will get up and leave and after 50 days, send a message to a country of over 200 tribes in his local language and everybody will keep quiet.
That maybe one day some mentally ill person will not start a radio station, preach hate and become a ‘hero’ afterwards.
That maybe a certain crop of people will not be able to thief this country dry and get away with it- if we still have a country that is. Just maybe.